Radio 4 ,Smarming toady

james armstrong james36army at
Sun Sep 14 13:10:46 BST 2008

 Mr Nicholas Kroll, Director, BBC Trust.
    (please forward this with my complaint of 5th August- your letter of  4th September refers)               
                                                                                                    Saturday 13th September  08
Dear Sir,

The UK agriculture industry is fractured.  After measuring  the  output and the amount of government subsidy, one critic describes European agriculture in total  as 'the most uncompetitive industry on the planet.'
The BBC 'Farming Today' programme does not register this, and neither  in the person of the interviewers, nor by the contents  of its programmes, nor by   the people interviewed is BBC able to address or communicate it. 'Farming Today is  therefore  unable to contribute to the solution.

If it is argued that this is not the role of the BBC then neither is it the role of a publicly funded broadcasting corporation  with immense powers of  attitude-forming to perpetuate an inequitable, monopolistic drain on the public purse, with its destructive effects on  the landscape, employment, food prices, spiraling land prices, dangers to public health  to the disadvantage of third world  food producers.
Silence is complicity.
The reality of  this industry, its gigantism, anti-social corporate interests, public finance, its link with  monopoly landownership, its  undemocratic political influence in the lobbies of Brussels and Westminster, are missed by the BBC and therefore  by the listener. 
A  campaign of misinformation by the industry has achieved widespread ignorance of  how  CAP taxes the generality  who are not bulk land owners  to support landowners and this exclusive system, and enhances the fortunes of a tiny minority who are land thousandacre-aires and £millionaires  and so  distorts agriculture.    

The issues are clearly complex  but I could  recommend Kevin Cahill's books Who Owns Britain? and Who Owns the World? , for an exposition and the magazine "The Land" for a critical  and constructive viewpoint  on British agricultural and related land , planning and housing issues.  
Giving airtime to 2,000 ten-acre smallholders would balance the views of the one  20,000acre 'farmer' interviewed to-day on FTTW.  This might be difficult but  hearing from just one or two small holders  or low impact farmers regularly on FT and less from NFU would be a start. 

Why is there a need to write this letter?   
The  apparent total blindness of the BBC to these issues  suggests either a lack of understanding of the industry, or capture and total subservience by BBC to the corporate agriculture industry  interest.

I have previously drawn attention to the inordinate reliance by FT and the regular and disproportionate contributions  to FT by NFU.  This week it was the turn of the  NFU chief economist to give her views.
The FT interviewers consistently fail to challenge this corporate interest and in their  presence  sound like primary school children under tutelege.
Which  other trade union with a much larger membership is given so much airtime and such deferential reception ?     
Can I please have a detailed reply to these points, but much more importantly could BBC  please 
live up to the aspiration of  Mr Kroll , (letter of 4th September)
          'the impartiality of the BBC is non-negotiable"
James Armstrong, Dorchester


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